Our quarterly journal has been published continuously since the Society was formed in 1975.  A complete set is available for reference in our Research Room in Bristol.


Each issue aims to keep members up-to-date about events that may be taking place and presents regular features and a range of articles about family history and local history.  'On the Internet' articles (see below) are reproduced on this website in the month of publication and 'My Parish' articles are published 12-18 months after publication in the Journal.


Journals are distributed to members each quarter (June, September, December & March) and members who join part way through the membership year (which begins in April) are sent copies of past Journals for that year.

We have an on-line index of all family names (or surnames) and article titles in our Journals from the first issue in 1975 to the present day.

Journal Editor - Jane Bambury
19 Harlech Way, Willsbridge, Bristol, BS30 6US

Most issues of the Society's Journal contain an article about recent family history developments on the Internet;  these are included below so that you can access the sites listed more easily by calling up the articles below and clicking on the links rather than by entering the web address into your browser.  However, please note that links in older articles may no longer work.


A variety of sources are used to write these articles. I seldom use the information which appears in the glossy family history magazines, since these are often press releases written before the new data is actually available, so can be uncritical and lacking detail. Some websites are suggested to me, and I naturally use the regular announcements made by Ancestry ( , Findmypast ( and other well-known sites. One source that I find consistently useful are the newsletters I receive from Lost Cousins. Written by Peter Calver, they contain informed details of new developments, and are good at suggesting new ways of finding out family information. Subscription is free, although to use all the features of the Lost Cousins website ( requires an annual payment of £10. If you want to know more about the 1939 Register, how and why it was compiled, what it includes, and how to get the best out of it, then I can recommend this article that appeared in Peter's newsletter a few weeks ago -

About a year ago, the General Register Office ( launched the provision of new indexes of some births and deaths, and also trialled, for a limited period, the supply of certificates in pdf format at a lower price, something that family historians had been requesting for many years. They are now repeating the previous trial but for a period of at least 3 months (and possibly indefinitely?). The pdf versions will cost £6 and will be supplied electronically, which will be a particular advantage for researchers living overseas. Official certificates currently cost £9.25.

Just after I wrote my previous article, it was announced that North Somerset maps had been added to Knowyourplace (, and that there was now complete coverage for Bristol and the old counties of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset. The home page now includes a helpful video showing what the site can do, and it includes a contribution from our own Geoff Gardiner. New maps and information are being added all the time, including a wonderful collection of old maps of Bath, including one from 1610.

Those with Wiltshire ancestry will be pleased to learn that Findmypast ( have released a set of over 5 million parish records. These include banns as well as baptisms, marriages and burials, but there are no images of register pages, only a transcription. Some of the entries come from Phillimore’s marriage indexes. The other good news is that Knowyourplace ( has recently been expanded to include the whole of the present county of Somerset. North Somerset council area should be included soon – perhaps before this journal is published – and maps of the whole of our local area, together with the neighbouring counties, will then be available.